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It is an abuse of executive power to use the government to dig up dirt on opponents. However, I am not sure what the felony is.

Zelensky does not seem hard pressed to agree to what Trump suggest, rather he seems ethusiastic. And the arms support does not seem to have been contingent on an agreement. So if this is extortion, it is only in the sense that when the sole super power calls the threat is always present. And I doubt the US wants to criminalise that.

Zelensky is not invited to meddle in the US election as such, but encouraged to investigate possible foul deeds in Ukraine (with repercussions on US politics). Having been elected on a anti-corruption platform this is a natural fit for his stated politics. It will interesting to see if it goes anywhere, considering the rumours of connections between Burisma and the oligarch Kolomoyskyi, who also supported Zelensky's career. Anyway, as Ukrainian president I would assume that can (obeying the proper forms) order the prosecutors to investigate foul deeds in Ukraine. Asking a foreign president to investigate crimes in accordance with their laws (including investigations that have political consequences) is also something the US does and probably doesn't want to criminalise.

So, I do get the abuse of power aspect - the president has to be prevented from bringing the full weight of the govenrment apparatus on his opponents - but I don't get what the felony is.

by fjallstrom on Mon Oct 28th, 2019 at 10:37:55 AM EST
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The President of the United States takes an Oath of Office to faithfully execute the duties of his office according to the laws of the country. Those laws specifically forbid self enrichment - see emoluments clauses. Perverting the conduct of US foreign policy to serve the personal needs of the president for election or re-election is an especially egregious violation of the oath of office. Anything that aids a politician to be elected or re-elected is a 'thing of value'. It is the equivalent of or worse than receiving a bribe and it is a gross abuse of power.

It is clear from the writings of the founders of the nation that it was specifically to remedy such acts, seen as potentially fatal to the survival of the nation as a representative republic, that the impeachment clauses were ADDED to the Constitution before it was submitted for ratification. Bribery is specifically enumerated as a cause of impeachment.

The term 'High crimes and misdemeanors' is not limited to specifically illegal acts. It also covers actions that are detrimental to the good governance of the nation. The fact that such acts may have been committed but not prosecuted in previous administrations is no defense. It also covers acts such as obstruction of justice that are also criminal offenses.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Oct 29th, 2019 at 03:57:43 AM EST
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Unfortunately written in 18th Century prose and lacking important detail, thus open to argument across all three branches of government.
by asdf on Tue Oct 29th, 2019 at 05:13:49 PM EST
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